Syria Conflict: UN Observers Suspend Mission
The mission of peace in Syria seems even more grim on Saturday, as the UN has called it has stopped patrolling, opting to stay in their current locations, according to a statement by Norwegian General Robert Mood, who is leading the team of 300.
In his statement, Gen Mood cited rising violence in the country as the reason for the suspension. CNN reports that he stated:
“There has been an intensification of armed violence across Syria over the past 10 days. This escalation is limiting our ability to observe, verify, report as well as assist in local dialogue and stability projects — basically impeding our ability to carry out our mandate.”
The BBC reports that at least seven people were killed in Douma Friday night, and at least 18 others died elsewhere, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Syrian National Council has also warned of an impending massacre in Homs, which it believes is besieged by 30,000 troops and pro-regime militiamen.
Gen Mood stated on Saturday morning that:
“This suspension will be reviewed on a daily basis. Operations will resume when we see the situation fit for us to carry out our mandated activities.”
He noted that the main reason for the suspension is the elevated violence in the last ten days, as well as the fact that:
“The lack of willingness by the parties to seek a peaceful transition, and the push towards advancing military positions is increasing the losses on both sides: innocent civilians, men, women and children are being killed every day.”
CNN reports that the U.N. monitors were originally sent in to ensure that both parties, President Bashar al-Assad and opposition fighters, were holding to a six-point peace plan that was brokered by envoy Kofi Annan. The plan was short-lived, having started on April 12th. Violence exploded after a second massacre, in which about 78 people died, causing the rebels to throw out their plans for peace.